Most Expensive Cities in the U.S. for Renters
The rent is too darn high almost everywhere in the United States. But some cities make it harder for workers than others.
A new study revealed the 10 American cities with the least affordable rent. The ranking shows how much people are spending on housing compared to how much they earn. So, surprisingly, you won't find San Francisco here since the Silicon Valley elite earn enough to afford pretty much anything.
Intrigued? These are the most expensive cities in the U.S., based on resident income.
10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Median annual household income: $64,313
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $2,000
Percentage of income spent on rent: 37.32 percent
Miami's less sparkly but still glamorous next-door neighbor isn't as affordable as it would like you to think. Many wealthy retirees choose it over the loud metropolis for its beautiful beaches and numerous cultural activities. There has also been an influx of people escaping the rising costs of Miami, which has made everything more expensive here as well.
For a one-bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay $2,000, which is absurd if you ask us.
*Data and rankings come from Housing List's "Where in the U.S. Is Rent the Most (and Least) Affordable?" report.
9. Detroit, Michigan
Median annual household income: $32,498
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $1,080
Percentage of income spent on rent: 39.88 percent
Given Detroit's infamous fall that led the city to declare bankruptcy in 2013, it's surprising to see it listed here. As many people abandoned or were forced out of their homes, streets were left with countless empty apartments and houses. For years, you could buy a house here for less than $10,000.
While the city is undergoing a celebrated comeback, it seems like it's failing to address one of the issues that caused its fall: an unaffordable cost of living.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
Median annual household income: $43,258
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $1,450
Percentage of income spent on rent: 40.22 percent
Like many touristy cities, New Orleans' problem is the disparity between the spending power of tourists versus locals. While visitors come here to party the night away on Bourbon Street, willingly paying exorbitant prices for delicious Cajun meals, it's a different story for those who reside here.
Rental sites like Airbnb have only exacerbated the issue of high rent and gentrification. Residents have to spend an average of 40.22 percent of their income just to have a roof over their heads.
7. Newark, New Jersey
Median annual household income: $37,476
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $1,340
Percentage of income spent on rent: 42.91 percent
Newark's main appeal is that you can live near New York City without paying New York City prices. But don't expect to be living on the cheap, either. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,340 (a steal compared to the city), but you'll also likely be earning considerably less, with the median annual household income at $37,476.
It's common for Newark residents to have a job in the city, which means long commutes that eat into free time. Unless you absolutely have to be near New York, we'd recommend skipping town altogether.
6. Los Angeles, California
Median annual household income: $65,290
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $2,410
Percentage of income spent on rent: 44.29 percent
We believe that Los Angeles is on this ranking, but we're actually shocked it's not higher. Notorious for its inequality, L.A. is the city where the world's wealthiest stars coincide with some of the most marginalized neighborhoods in the country.
Expect to pay more than $2,400 for a single bedroom — and probably not a nice one.
5. Cleveland, Ohio
Median annual household income: $31,838
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $1,220
Percentage of income spent on rent: 45.98 percent
We don't know how to put this politely, so we'll just come right out and say it: Cleveland is not worth a high cost of living. At least in other cities, you get the thrill of a cosmopolis where you feel like the whole world is condensed into a small area.
But Cleveland is, at best, OK. Yes, it has access to Lake Erie and decent museums, but this Rust Belt spot lacks pizzazz or any hint of a spark that differentiates it from any other mid-sized U.S. city. No one should be spending almost 46 percent of their income to live here.
4. Providence, Rhode Island
Median annual household income: $49,065
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $1,910
Percentage of income spent on rent: 46.71 percent
On the other spectrum, we have gorgeous Providence, which is most definitely worth its high cost ... if you can afford it. The coastal city has food, vistas and cultural events to spare. Plus, it's near nature, and the locals are friendly. Those who have the money should indulge in how good life is.
The issue is that many residents struggle to breathe after paying rent. Unless you're a high earner, you might want to set your eyes elsewhere.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Median annual household income: $76,298
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $3,060
Percentage of income spent on rent: 48.13 percent
Like Providence, Boston is an incredible city to live in. But it's not without issues. Income disparity is a big problem and, as with New Orleans, mass tourism only makes it worse.
People earn the highest median annual household income out of any other city on this list, but they also pay about $3,060 for one bedroom. Unless that comes with a robot who does all your chores and cooks, we can't see how it's justified.
2. Miami, Florida
Median annual household income: $44,268
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $2,510
Percentage of income spent on rent: 68.04 percent
Miami has always attracted the rich and famous, but there were pockets of the city that were once affordable to everyday folks. That all vanished with the pandemic, when wealthy Californians and New Yorkers moved to town, seeking to avoid state taxes, have more land and enjoy the nice weather.
The newcomers have no issue paying $2,510 for a single bedroom — a price out of reach for much of the city's large immigrant population. As a result, there is a mass exodus of long-time residents who find that they can't afford rent here anymore.
And while the beach and the food are certainly alluring, we're not convinced they're worth 68 percent of anyone's income.
1. New York, New York
Median annual household income: $67,046
Median cost of 1-bedroom apartment: $3,860
Percentage of income spent on rent: 69.19 percent
We all knew New York would top this list. It is, after all, the city that demands you pay 69 percent of your earnings for a tiny cockroach-infested apartment that you share with 10 other people.
Sure, many residents can afford to live the high life, but even more struggle daily just to meet basic needs. With a single-bedroom apartment costing $3,860, people often need multiple jobs to survive.
Still, many think no price is too high to be in the greatest city in the world. Their words, not ours.